News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

MyRivr app connects vulnerable communities to services

An app that connects vulnerable communities to local health and social services plans to launch next month.

MyRivr allows users to search for and book appointments with more than 8000 health and social services across New Zealand.

Despite still being in beta version, the free app has been downloaded more than 5000 times and is accessed by 400-500 people a day.

It was developed in 2016 and is due to launch in September. Next month will also see the launch of MyRivr self-help kiosks located in public places so that people without access to smartphones or a data plan can use the technology.

Trust MyRivr chief executive Akerei Maresala Thomson spoke at an eMental Health symposium in Auckland on 31 July 2019 where he told attendees the biggest problem is not lack of services, but lack of visibility and access to those services.

The concept for MyRivr arose when he was working for the police, leading a Youth Action Team as part of a government-led initiative focused on youth suicide and gangs.

A report commissioned in 2008 found that 86 percent of service referrals for troubled youths came from hospitals or police.

The aim was to provide visibility and access to services before someone committed a crime or became the victim of one, as people weren’t aware of what help was available, Maresala said.

Another problem was that paper-based information was often out of date, so people were being sent to services that no longer existed or were far away from home.

“There was a whole section of the community not accessing services and who we knew very little about, so we thought, ‘how do we enable and encourage communities to engage with simple technology to find services in their local area’?”

MyRivr was developed to focus on prevention by providing better visibility of available services and also allows users to provide feedback.

“It’s like the Air BnB of health and social services,” he explained.

“We want it to be consumer-centric and driven by consumers.”

The app also includes artificial intelligence chatbot technology in the form of a health navigator.

“The biggest game changer is the data we are collecting,” Maresala said.

“Every workshop we run we can see how many people are downloading the app and what services they are looking at. It’s much more practical than giving out flyers.”

Maresala said there is a perception that men do not ask for help, but data from the app shows that half of those people asking for help are men, however they are significantly more likely to be rejected by services.

He said the app will continue to exist as a free resource for the community as, “we believe that visibility and access to support is a basic human right”.

More than 90 percent of funding for MyRivr comes from two US-based philanthropic organisations.

Ends


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Scoop Review Of Books: 'the everrumble' by Michelle Elvy

This is Zettie’s tale from her birth date in 1965 through to her ‘passing’ at the age of 105. Yet, Zettie’s tale is our own tale, as humans still all-too-often hell-bent on destroying our environment and therefore our fellow creatures – and thus – symbiotically and inevitably – ourselves. More>>

Tuia 250: Endeavour Arrives At Tūranganui-A-Kiwa

The co-chair for Tuia 250 national commemorations says it's not a bad thing if people want to express their views, as a replica of Captain Cook's Endeavour is today set to make its way into Tūranganui-a-Kiwa... Local iwi oppose the ship's visit and have refused to do a pōhiri. More>>

ALSO:

On 7–19 October: NZ Improv Fest Turns (It Up To) Eleven

The New Zealand Improv Festival (NZIF) is celebrating eleven years by going 110%; this national festival has increased to two weeks of improvisation with guests from all over the world. More>>

ALSO:

NZ On Air: $12 Million For Stimulating Content For Tamariki

New Zealand tamariki have much to be excited about, with just under $12.5 million in funding confirmed for a raft of new screen and music content including a new daily kids quiz show. More>>

ALSO:

Master Storyteller: Author Jack Lasenby Remembered

Jack Lasenby died on Friday, aged 88. He was the author of children's books, novels, and short stories. He was the winner of numerous awards, including the Prime Minister's award for Literary Achievement in 2014. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland